Export Credit Agencies (ECA), such as Export Development Canada (EDC – http://www.edc.ca) have been established by in large to facilitate international trade between nations. They are at the forefront of facilitating globalization by providing domestic / foreign buyer financing and risk management services to their respective exporters (i.e. political risk insurance, bonding needs and/or account receivable insurance). As international change agents guided by OECD guidelines, these agencies have the opportunity to further influence various private and public companies when it comes to corporate social responsibility matters.
The impetus for implementing a sound and evolving CSR framework may vary between ECAs and their clients (private / public firms). It could be argued that ECA’s CSR frameworks are driven by both OECD regulations (i.e. Common Approaches on environmental review processes) and country specific acts (i.e. the Export Development Act in Canada) whereas corporations, on the other hand, implement said CSR frameworks in order to attain a sustainable competitive advantage to increase shareholder value.
In other words, ECAs establish CSR frameworks from a public mandate perspective whereas firms do so from perhaps from a more commercial perspective. This being said, ECAs have a significant collective degree of influence over a myriad of global players by virtue of their support for large international development projects. By performing additional due diligence at origination in areas such as anti-corruption, environmental impact assessments, human rights and counterparty commercial morality risk analyses, ECAs will continue to reinforce sound CSR principles and pave the way for global sustainable development progress. The ECA’s ability to incorporate certain contractual obligations as well as reps and warranties into the various financing and/or risk mitigation agreements will facilitate the paradigm shift in the corporate world.
Export Development Canada, has in my opinion, fully embraced the notions of sustainable development. Their CRS Annual Report delineates sound commercial operating principles and illustrates the level of commitment received by the Board of Directors (see link : http://www.edc.ca/english/docs/csr_annualreport_2005_e.pdf). Additional links substantiating my assertion are available for reference at the following locations: